A Kamloops city councillor is lauding the province for putting in place regional restrictions to curb spread of the novel coronavirus.
Coun. Mike O’Reilly said more has been learned about the virus and, with contact tracing, the province has been able pinpoint where cases are popping up in British Columbia.
“It’s a data-driven decision that’s very clear that the cases are in the Lower Mainland, specifically,” O’Reilly said. “Not to say that they’re not here, but the majority of them aren’t. If we were to remove Kamloops from the equation, it just doesn’t make sense for a business in Surrey to have the same restrictions as a business in Fort St. James.”
Over the weekend, new provincial health orders restrict social interactions and indoor fitness for residents in the Lower Mainland for the next two weeks. Residents in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal health regions cannot have social gatherings of any size with anyone other than those in their immediate households. Party buses and group limos have been ordered to stop operating and wedding and funeral receptions are prohibited. In addition, indoor fitness activities, such as spin and dance classes and indoor sports, as well as travel for the sports, are also on hold.
The orders were announced on Saturday, Nov. 7, and come amidst a second wave of COVID-19, with near daily record case counts in the province, the majority of which have come out of the Fraser Health region.
On Saturday and Sunday, there were 998 new COVID-19 cases recorded in B.C, more than 700 in Fraser Health and 28 in Interior Health.
Throughout the pandemic, most restrictions put in place have impacted residents provincewide. Meanwhile, with cases locally recently announced at the McDonald’s outlet in Walmart and at the Royal Inland Hospital patient-care tower construction site, restrictions in the Lower Mainland now act as a warning sign for the Kamloops area and O’Reilly is asking residents to remain diligent.
“Stay cautious, wear a mask when possible, if you can, and respect social distancing,” he said.
O’Reilly said businesses have been struggling financially amid the pandemic and have been watching the numbers, concerned work they have done in order to create safe environments could be in vain.
On Monday, Premier John Horgan hinted at the potential to go back to earlier more severe restriction phases, should case counts in B.C. continue to spike. Horgan added that testing in the province will increase in the province.
O’Reilly said businesses need stability and he wants to see phases tied to positivity rates, rather than case counts, which he called “subjective.”
“That caught my eye as a business owner,” he said. “That raised a bit of an alarm bell today.”